As we’re all well aware, COVID-19 is skyrocketing across the globe. And while some of us are at home panicking about the dystopian hellscape that is 2020 practicing social distancing, it seems that The Bachelorette alumni Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron are out here living like it’s 2019.
Cameron and Brown are holed up in Florida with six (six!) of their closest friends, including future Bachelorette contestant Matt James. The self-proclaimed “quarantine crew” spends its days splashing around in the pool, engaging in group workouts, and creating elaborate TikTok videos under the same moniker.
The gang does occasionally reference the global pandemic happening around them, including one lighthearted TikTok promoting handwashing that Cameron captioned on Instagram with, “follow @who [World Health Organization] to stay updated with everything that is going on!” (But then, unfortunately, followed that with, “And follow me on @tiktok for more of this kinda fun.”)
On one hand, the quarantine crew’s TikTok is a lighthearted distraction from the ever-darkening news cycle. Watching their videos is like being on a spring break trip with your most fun, hottest friends. But, on the other, the whole thing feels out of touch and altogether just a little bit… thirsty.
For instance, Brown came under fire when she posted a selfie of herself smiling, carefree, and felt it was a good idea to caption the photo with, “What’s more contagious than a smile?”
Fans were quick to point out the painfully obvious response. (She’s since apologized).
Not to mention, their so-called quarantine practices are questionable at best. After all, just last week, while the rest of the country was coping with mounting panic and bouncing from grocery store to grocery store just to find toilet paper, the quarantine crew enjoyed some beach volleyball, ostensibly unconcerned about the true meaning of social distancing. Brown and Cameron have been photographed draped all over each other, and the whole gang is certainly making no attempt to stay six feet apart.
And it begs the question: how many easily-influenced teens are following the stars’ social media accounts and thinking, maybe it’s okay to have a friend (or seven) over because Brown and Cameron are doing it and still claiming to be quarantining? After all, Hannah Brown has 2.7 million Instagram followers, while Tyler Cameron has a cool 2.3 million. Though the duo has certainly elevated important causes in the past (Cameron, in particular, has used his social media platform to promote his charitable organization ABC Food Tours), it’s unfortunate that they’re not using their power and influence during this global emergency to make a real difference.
Even former Bachelor Nick Viall couldn’t help but throw some subtle shade their way. In an Instagram Live interview with The Morning Toast’s Claudia Oshry, when asked if he had any tips for fans coping with the pandemic, Viall said,
“Stay the f*ck home. Stop doing TikTok videos with groups of people in the pool.”
When asked if he was talking about anyone in particular, Viall declined to name names, instead saying that he’s “just pointing it out.” But it’s not hard to make the connection.
Ultimately, for many, the quarantine crew’s videos have provided a little bit of levity in a very uncertain time. And certainly, Brown and Cameron’s will-they-or-won’t they love story is compelling enough to give us weeks of entertainment. But as the virus continues to spread and conditions continue to worsen, maybe it’s time they got off their chartered boats, stepped away from the beach, and gave a little more thought to what it means to lead by example.
So many people are losing their jobs and barricading themselves in their homes, many wondering how long they’re going to be able to stretch their savings before things turn dire. Others are sidelined, helpless, as their loved ones battle infection. So maybe now’s not the time to post a video, no matter how well-intentioned of you and your half-dozen hot friends “quarantining” in paradise.
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Michelle Vincent is a project manager and freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, is worried she won’t love her future children as much as she loves her dogs, and is actively recruiting podcast recommendations.